VATIC Expressions: Truth, Transparency, Transformation
Volume 2, Spring 2016 Issue. A division of Vatic Publishing®, LLC.
The Best Time of My Life
(Through the Eyes of a 7-Year Old)
by Tina Augustus
Recently, I experienced an awesome God moment where He not only answered my prayers for my seven year old grandson, He also placed His favor upon him, and blessed him during a very low point in his life. One reason I believe this was a “God moment” for him is because I recently learned that for the past two years, he has been dealing with depression. My daughter’s (his Mom) car is not working right now, so she was having great difficulty getting him to and from school, so he has been living with us for three months now, and being away from her has also added to his level of stress.
My grandson is highly intelligent, and he is also an extremely talented young musician. Even though God has endowed him with these gifts, depression seeks to kill and destroy him, like the “enemy.” It is apparent that the enemy wants his mind. However, God’s plan for my grandson’s life is magnificent, and he is going to bless many! I recognize the trap that the enemy has set, and with God’s help, this situation has immediately been diffused! With God, all things are possible!
My young grandson really enjoys spending time with his grandpa, me, and his two uncles. He is so loving, and such a polite young man. He’s extremely energetic, and we love him for his unique spirit! It’s just that there is no place like home, in the arms of a comforting mother. Each morning, I have been driving him to school, picking him up after school, and doing all of the daily things a mother would do for her child. This level of commitment to my daughter and her son is necessary. We all wanted to make sure that he made it to school on time with no absences. So far, he has 100% perfect attendance, and has participated in reward activities every Friday as a result.
Even though he is having a great time with us, it is understandable that he is missing his mom preparing his meals, taking him to and from school, giving him kisses each day, snuggling up with him and tucking him in at night. Weeks ago, I told my daughter that I can see God’s hand all over this situation and that He does not make mistakes. I also told her that He will reveal, in His time, what He wants us to know about the reasons for him staying with us, and to be patient. It may seem like an unfortunate situation, especially for a seven year old, but God allowed this situation to occur so that he may get the help he needs.
Children have feelings too! Like adults, they have traumatic experiences, and also have to deal with rejection! Many adults think that children should be seen and not heard. Most children, including adults, do not know how to open up and share what is going on in their minds and hearts when they are feeling depressed, nor do they know if and when they should seek counseling.
According to KidsHealth, a part of The Nemours Foundation’s Center for Children’s Health Media, “Depression is the most common mental health problem in the United States. Each year it affects 17 million people of all ages, races, and economic backgrounds. As many as 1 in every 33 children may have depression; in teens, that number may be as high as 1 in 8.”
During a class exercise in Children’s Church, the teachers told their students that they will stand in proxy for them during their personal time of prayer. The teachers then asked the children to share one thing that they wanted prayer for. From the statement that my grandson made in class, his teacher was alarmed, which resulted in a phone call to me by our pastor. What he said was “Pray that I don’t kill myself.” Later, I talked with him and he shared that sometimes he has thoughts of killing himself, and that he has had these thoughts for the past two years. These are words coming from a seven year old child!
After receiving this message from our pastor, I immediately contacted my daughter and advised her to seek professional counseling for our precious son/grandson. Then, I went into prayer asking God for help in this situation. God heard my prayer and responded immediately! Actually, He was working on this matter even before I went into prayer.
I am part of a network of business women, and we meet every first Monday of the month at a local restaurant. During a recent meeting, an announcement was made by the Illinois State Representative who oversees the Loretto Youth Healthcare Council and Loretto Hospital’s ongoing youth health initiative. I offered to assist the program by accessing resources for them. Little did I know at the time, God saw fit to place His favor upon us, and a divine connection was made. Just a few hours before the call came in from my pastor, I received a call from one of the State Representative’s coordinators in regard to an out-of-state field trip they were planning for 17-year old youth, however, God saw fit to shine upon my grandson, and impress upon the hearts of the coordinators to add him to the list of youth who will attend this field trip.
The group traveled to Milwaukee, Wisconsin by way of coach bus, to watch the Milwaukee Bucks play a game of basketball against the Boston Celtics. My grandson loves all types of cars, trucks, trains, buses... you name them, and he loves them, and he also enjoys sports, so this was a very special day for him! We boarded the bus and his eyes widened with excitement when he saw the dashboard filled with so many control buttons and lights! Throughout the evening and into the night, my grandson kept repeating over and over again, “Grandma, this is the best time of my life, I’m having so much fun!”
He was blessed with so many gifts and treats! Our meals were covered. He received two T-shirts, one as an identifier, so that we could keep up with him and the other teens at the basketball stadium, and the second T-shirt as a gift. He also received an autographed photo from Milwaukee Bucks’ player, Jabari Parker, and other gifts from his mom and dad. The Milwaukee Bucks team has a gigantic floating deer that stretches approximately 20 feet long by 10 feet wide! The floating dear periodically takes a trip around the stadium, and during one of its tours, the deer came close to us as if to give my grandson a fist bump! We took photos of the deer as it approached us. That was so amazing!
At the end of the game, our group was asked to be seated and to wait until the crowd had left the stadium. Once it was all cleared, a Bucks public relations staff member invited our group down to the basketball court to take pictures with Jabari Parker, as well as Evan Turner of the Boston Celtics, along with a few of their fellow players. Both of these young men are from our hometown, Chicago, and their families still live here!
After reflecting on this urgent situation that was right before us, the following scriptures came to my mind, found in Philippians 4:8-9: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me. Then the God of peace will be with you.” New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)
And Deuteronomy 31:8: “It is the Lord who goes before you; He will be with you and will never fail you or forsake you. So do not fear or be dismayed.” New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)
After the excitement was all over, and as a form of therapy for my grandson, I had him write a letter of thanks to the Illinois State Representative, Loretto Hospital, and all of the supporters of this field trip. We went there to deliver the letter to the state representative who told him that he was the only youth, out of the entire group, who said ‘thank you’ in writing. The Illinois state representative sat down with him, and took time to show him a video of a college ceremony showing Evan Turner of the Boston Celtics, who played for the Ohio State University, #21 jersey being retired (raised in OSU’s stadium).
In addition, we are going to create a scrap book of the pictures taken, and gifts he received that night. We will frame the autographed picture of Jabari Parker, and other pictures from the souvenir book that we got from the game, and hang them on his bedroom wall.
Another exercise that I recently did with him was to have him take “The Five Love Languages” survey for children, in an effort to find out his primary “Love Language,” which is an indicator of how he receives love. This survey was created by Drs. Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell, experts in the field of marriage and the family, and authors of the book series “The Five Love Languages.” According to Drs. Chapman and Campbell, the five love languages are physical touch, words of affirmation, gifts, acts of services, and quality of time. My grandson’s top two love languages are gifts, and quality of time. This explains why he was so excited about the gifts he received, and traveling to the ballgame with me and our new friends. His top two love languages were being met. Praise God, for He is amazing! He loves my grandson so much that He will take something that might seem simple to some, and make it into something grand! God loves you too! “When you trust in the Lord with all of your heart, do not lean unto your own understanding. And, in all of your ways you acknowledge God, and He will direct your path.” (Proverbs 3:5)
God saw fit for my grandson to stay with us during this dire time in his young life. What an awesome God we serve! He allowed him to be in Children’s Church on that particular Sunday when the teacher asked the class that important question, so that the teacher can stand in the gap for him! Again, I say, what an awesome God we serve! He is always near and He hears our prayers! He heard my grandson’s prayer that Sunday, and gave him the best time of his life!
We praise you Lord for your faithfulness to us!
© 2016 Tina Augustus